Shaquille O’Neal is a former NBA player who is now retired. He once ripped 5 urinals off the wall of a bathroom in a fit of rage before Jerry West calmed him down with some wise advice.
Shaquille O’Neal is a four-time NBA champion and without a doubt one of the best centers in NBA history. However, before winning his first championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000, O’Neal couldn’t tolerate detractors who chastised him for not wearing a championship ring on his finger.
Shaq let his rage get the better of him in an explosive manner after yet another devastating playoff defeat during the 1999 playoffs. Before Jerry West could intercede and calm him down, he transformed into the Hulk and pulled five urinals clear off the wall.
This is a true tale.
Shaquille O’Neal didn’t win an NBA championship until he was in his eighth year.
On “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Shaquille O’Neal chats with Jimmy Kimmel | Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images
Although Shaquille O’Neal is regarded today as one of the most dominating big players in NBA history and a frequent champion, that wasn’t always the case.
Critics and fans saw Shaq as a destructive force in the paint who could never win the big one in the late 1990s. O’Neal’s teams were swept in all three postseason appearances with the Orlando Magic.
The Magic were defeated in the first round of the 1994 playoffs by the Indiana Pacers, in the NBA Finals by the Houston Rockets in 1995, and in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Chicago Bulls in 1996.
Shaq experienced a similar playoff defeat to the Utah Jazz in 1997 after joining the Lakers the following season. In 1998 and 1999, the Utah Jazz and the San Antonio Spurs swept the Lakers in back-to-back seasons.
After a comically violent outburst the year before, O’Neal finally got the monkey off his back in 2000.
In a moment of anger, Shaquille O’Neal pulled five urinals from a wall.
Shaq had had enough of the notion that he wasn’t a winner by 1999. His playoff humiliations were mounting, and he realized he needed to win a ring to alter the direction of his career.
O’Neal went to the locker room after being swept by the Spurs in 1999 and took his rage out on five urinals. On one episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” he recently recounted the strange tale.
When I initially arrived in Los Angeles in 1996, we were constantly losing in the playoffs. We’d constantly get swept up. So, you know, ‘Shaq is a fantastic player, but is he truly a great player?’ He doesn’t win titles.’ I never expected us to win. Every year, Kobe and I grew better, but when it came to the playoffs, we would lose. I just went into the office and pulled five (urinals) off the wall one more time before we hit three in a row.
Shaquille O’Neal is a basketball player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
But hold on, there’s more.
Jerry West had to give Shaq some sound advise in order to calm him down.
After losing to the Spurs, O’Neal was furiously trashing a toilet when Jerry West, the Lakers’ general manager from 1982 to 1994, came in and told Shaq a tale that instantly calmed him down.
O’Neal said, “Jerry West walked in and gave me a tale I didn’t know.” ‘Calm down, son,’ he replied. I had been to the Finals nine times before winning with the Lakers, so I didn’t feel too terrible. So I’m tearing a urinal apart and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Hold on, you’ve been to the Finals nine times and lost?’ ‘Calm down!’ he said. You’ll figure it out! ‘You’ll figure it out!’
West was absolutely correct. The next season, O’Neal returned to the Lakers and won his first NBA title with 38 points and 16.7 rebounds per game in the 2000 NBA Finals. Los Angeles went on to win three consecutive championships, and O’Neal added another ring to his collection in 2006.
But let’s go back to the main point.
“Did you expect to be able to remove the urinal from the wall?” Shaq was questioned by Jimmy Kimmel.
“Oh, I was furious. “I was, in fact,” he confessed.
Clearly, in more ways than one.
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Shaquille O’Neal left the Orlando Magic in part because to a newspaper poll question: ‘I Don’t Like Being Underappreciated.’